Melbourne, January 23, 2024, The Europe Today: U.S. Open champion Coco Gauff faced a formidable challenge against Ukrainian world number 37 Marta Kostyuk but secured victory in a hard-fought encounter, winning 7-6(6) 6-7(3) 6-2 to advance to the semifinals of the Australian Open for the first time.
Despite an uncharacteristically inconsistent performance, the fourth-seeded American persevered for over three hours on the scorching Rod Laver Arena, adhering to the coaching maxim of “Winning Ugly” coined by her coach Brad Gilbert.
Expressing pride in her resilience, Gauff acknowledged Kostyuk as a tough opponent and highlighted the intense fight displayed during the match. Gauff, competing in her final Grand Slam as a teenager, entered the quarterfinals on a nine-match winning streak, seeking to build on her previous major success at the U.S. Open.
Kostyuk took an early lead with a 5-1 advantage, serving twice for the opening set. Gauff, however, showcased problem-solving skills on the court, mounting a comeback by winning five successive games to serve for the set herself.
Despite a challenging second set with frequent breaks, Gauff managed to edge ahead and serve for the match at 5-3. Kostyuk’s ability to produce winners, totaling 39 in the contest, and Gauff’s frail second serve led to a level score at one-set all.
In the decisive third set, Gauff adjusted her strategy, ramping up the pace of her first serve and backhand. Despite facing challenges while serving for the match twice, Gauff secured victory on her third attempt.
Gauff’s semifinal opponent will be determined in a match between Aryna Sabalenka and Czech ninth seed Barbora Krejcikova. Kostyuk, playing in her first Grand Slam quarterfinal, remained remarkably upbeat, considering the tournament as a significant win for her.